cover image Pointe


Brandy Colbert. Putnam, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-399-16034-9

Theo Cartwright, from one of the few black families in a predominantly white Chicago suburb, lives for ballet, and she’s destined for stardom on stage. When her childhood best friend Donovan—who disappeared four years earlier at age 13—resurfaces, Theo’s life is upended. Debut novelist Colbert has written an extraordinary book about dance, seamlessly intertwined with the chilling aftermath of a kidnapping. In honest, confident prose, Colbert builds characters whose flaws, struggles, and bad decisions make them real and indelibly memorable. Theo may be a gifted and driven dancer, but she’s also still a 17-year-old who can shut down a smug classmate with an acid remark, drinks and smokes with her friends, became sexually involved with an older guy at 13 (and never really thought of it as rape), is keeping an eating disorder in check, and carries heavy secrets about her connection to Donovan’s disappearance. Colbert gives all her characters similar depth (including the pianist/school drug dealer Theo is drawn to, even though he has a girlfriend), and it’s this complexity and empathy that set this gripping story apart. Ages 14–up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Apr.)■